It’s the Bill of RIGHTS, Not the Bill of Needs
I’m going to leave this stuck to the front page for a while.
Several states have recently introduced or enacted truly vile laws which infringe on the Second Amendment rights of law abiding Americans. New York has enacted the SAFE Act after only having 20 minutes to read it. They wanted to go much further. Lawmakers in the New Jersey House have just passed 22 new gun control bills. California is being even worse than usual and some lawmakers in Oregon are trying to go even further.
We’ve been told repeatedly by celebrities and government officials that rifles such as the AR-15 should be banned and it’s OK to ban them because some people don’t think that we need them. Vice President Biden has been one of the most outspoken figures about this view – Here’s just one example.
There’s just one problem with all of these laws, bills, and opinion. The first ten amendments to the Constitution are not called the Bill of Needs. They make up the Bill of RIGHTS. These are rights that were recognized by the founders of our nation as pre-existing and given by our creator. They do not come from government.
Rosa Parks didn’t NEED to sit at the front of a bus. The back of the bus got to the destination at the same time. She fought for her RIGHT against discrimination.
If you need to prove a NEED to a government agency or official, then you don’t have a right to something. Imagine if politicians and celebrities proposed that a need must be proven to exercise First Amendment rights. What if they wanted to curtail use of expletives in writing, music, or motion pictures? What would happen if a government functionary were to demand a background check before approval was given to use those “bad words” in each work? What if they wanted to approve only certain types of music for publication or mandate that only happy movies be available to the general public?
How about if we apply the needs test to the Third Amendment? You know, the one about the government not being able to quarter troops? They don’t have that in (formerly) Great Britain and yes, it is still a problem for British subjects. What if you had to prove a need not to have the government use your residence or property as a free bed and breakfast?
I’m on a roll here, so let’s apply this thought exercise to a few more Amendments in the Bill of Rights!
What about having to show why the police or army should not be able to search your house? There’s the Fourth Amendment. Should you have to show why you need to remain silent when under prosecution? The Fifth Amendment says you don’t need to, but maybe the cops or a judge disagree. How about having to prove why you need a lawyer, a speedy trial, or even a public trial?
So, you might be asking how this applies to rifles like the AR-15 when they say they don’t want to take your revolver or double barrel shotgun? The Supreme Court said in Heller that Washington D.C. and the federal government in general couldn’t ban handguns. The Miller decision said that this applied to states, counties, cities, etc. The ban was struck down because handguns are common arms used for defense and other lawful purposes. How can that same criteria not include AR-15 rifles and other semi-automatic firearms which are functionally identical?
Thankfully, not all states are so hostile to the Second Amendment. I’m glad to live in Utah now for a lot of reasons. There’s great scenery and awesome museums, but this state (the home state of John Moses Browning by the way) has a great respect for the Second Amendment. There’s currently a bill working its way through the legislature that would do away with the need for a permit to carry a concealed weapon! HB76 was introduced with the idea that if you can legally own a gun, use it at your house, carry it in your car, and take it shooting where it’s legal to do so, then you can be trusted to carry it in public. That’s a position I can support
It’s a slippery slope when it comes to rights. If they’re not exercised and fought for on a regular basis, they have a truly horrible habit of turning into privileges which can be denied at the whim of a legislature or government official.
Please fight for your rights and remind your politicians of what it means when something is a RIGHT and not a privilege.
4 comments to It’s the Bill of RIGHTS, Not the Bill of Needs
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